The Legion of Christ religious order says it will try to respond to requests for compensation from former seminarians who were sexually abused by its founder and then discredited by officials for having publicly denounced him.

Victims of the Rev. Marcial Maciel petitioned the Legion’s recently concluded leadership meeting seeking public recognition of their status as victims of both Maciel and the order, which mounted a prolonged campaign to defame victims after they went public with allegations in 1997.

In a statement Friday responding to a request from The Associated Press, the Legion said its leaders “will try to get in touch personally with each of those who had signed the letter and respond to their requests.”

The statement repeated the Legion’s 2014 apology and its “commitment to continue seeking reconciliation.”

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